Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake (+ Other Holiday Recipes)

Today I’ve got a tasty new recipe for you that happens to be the final installment in our blogger #RealFoodHoliday progressive dinner series! I don’t know about you, but I’ve personally never been a fan of pumpkin pie (is anyone really?), but I do LOVE some pumpkin cheesecake. I think this is such a great update to the traditional dessert we’ve all seen year after year, and with the pecan crust you can easily accommodate any gluten-free guests you might be entertaining.

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5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen (+ a $650 giveaway!)

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The holiday season is upon us, which means many of us will soon be baking and cooking up a storm with our families! And I don’t know about you, but I’ve been working hard these past few years to improve the materials I cook with in my kitchen. For one, non-stick is mostly out and so is plastic. Now I say “mostly” because I like to balance these goals with reality, but I do think the 80/20 rule is a great goal when it comes to these sorts of things.

So today, I’m excited to partner with our sponsor, MightyNest, to share some of the materials that you’ll now find a lot of in my kitchen. They definitely know their stuff when it comes to smart choices – all their products are free from known toxic ingredients such as BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead, melamine, formaldehyde, flame retardants, parabens and more. So while many of us are here because we’re concerned about what foods we’re cooking – let’s be sure we don’t overlook what tools we’re using to prepare, serve and store all that wholesome goodness as well!

Plus, not only does MightyNest have all the healthy gear you need to outfit your kitchen, but they also donate a very generous 15% of any order back to the school of your choice. A healthy kitchen and money for your school… sounds like a great combo to me! So, to help you get started with your transition to “5 Materials for a Healthy Kitchen” one lucky 100 Days of Real Food reader has a chance to win a HUGE giveaway package today, which includes both $400 of products and $250 for the school of the your choice – a total value of $650!! Just click the blue button below to enter!

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Recipe: Cheesy Mashed Potato Casserole

Are you ready to kick up your classic mashed potato dish a few notches? If so, you are going to love this cheesy mashed potato casserole which has a layer of warm toasted cheese on top—yum! Plus, I’ve added a make ahead note so this recipe can easily make an appearance on your holiday table this year. And since it calls for unpeeled potatoes, you can count on that extra nutritional punch that you wouldn’t get otherwise. Enjoy!

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Recipe: Spaghetti Squash + Roasted Tomato Sauce

This is a guest post by team member Kiran. To learn more about Kiran check out our team page!

Okay, I’m gonna be honest, I had a horrible experience with spaghetti squash in high school. Back then I was all into spaghetti, pasta, and basically anything that was full of refined carbs – thank goodness I found real food! Anyhow, I’d read these fantastic things about this vegetable that tasted almost like regular noodles but had all the benefits of a vegetable. I was sold! I headed to my closest grocery store and picked up a package of already prepared squash “noodles.” I took it home and heated it up, anxious to give my new-found favorite food a taste. But I just about gagged when I took the first bite. The rest went into the trash, and I vowed to never eat this food again.

Flash forward to just a few weeks ago. I was shopping at Trader Joe’s with my youngest, who spotted the snack station. They happened to be serving – you guessed it – spaghetti squash topped with a little marinara. Somewhat hesitant, I still gave it another shot. And this time I was really sold. On the taste. It was so yummy! I started chatting with another customer who gave me some tips on cooking them, and the next thing I knew, I found myself heading to the bin with these oval-shaped goodies. And so I’m here today to tell you about what a great, versatile dish this can make. So whether you’re already a spaghetti squash lover or you’re feeling fearful, I’ve got a great recipe for you to try.

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Recipe: Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Okay, I am not gonna lie – this is not your super quick weeknight kind of recipe. BUT if you were to chop all the veggies, cook and shred the chicken, and make the pie crust dough in advance I think it could happen on a busy night. And I don’t have to sell Chicken Pot Pie. We all know How. Incredibly. Delicious it is!

It’s possible though that I do have to talk you out of using convenience ingredients like cans of cream of mushroom soup and packaged pie crust. Trust me, making this dish from scratch in order to avoid highly processed additives like partially hydrogenated oils (i.e. trans fat), artificial dyes, and MSG is so worth it. Not only will it taste amazing, but you’ll feel good about the dish you’re serving your precious family.

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Video: How to Make a Perfect Grilled Cheese!

I bet you didn’t know you’ve been making grilled cheese wrong all this time. There are two tricks – the first is a key ingredient that I bet you aren’t using nearly enough of and the second is a secret ingredient that takes this classic sandwich from good to amazing! So I created a little 3-minute video to show you exactly how to do it. Once your perfect grilled cheese is ready serve it alongside Homemade Tomato Bisque and you will officially be in cool weather heaven. Enjoy!